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Just like humans, many pets are living longer today. Thanks to improved veterinary care and dietary guidelines, pets are enjoying longer lives with their loved ones. However, the longer lifespan of our pets often means that owners and veterinarians must know how to care for pets during their senior years. Most veterinarians agree that cats and dogs reach the geriatric stage at age seven, though some larger breeds of dogs are considered to be seniors when they are six because of their shorter lifespans. If you have a pet nearing their senior years, you may be concerned about how to best care for them. We offer four tips for caring for a senior pet below, so that you can help ease your four-legged friend into their twilight years more easily.
- See your veterinarian regularly
While old age certainly is not an illness, it does carry with it certain health concerns that become more prevalent. That’s why regularly scheduling visits with your veterinarian is a good idea as your pets age. Being proactive will help your vet identify health problems sooner, and it is much less expensive to prevent disease in your older animals than it is to treat it.
You also may consider asking your veterinarian to conduct a body condition evaluation of your senior pets during their visits. During these checks, your vet can determine whether your pet is at an ideal weight. Extra weight is not good for animals at any stage of their lives, but it can be especially detrimental to their health during the senior years, which leads to our next tip.
- Keep your pet at a healthy weight
It is not in your senior pet’s best interests to be underweight or overweight; yet, studies show that nearly 50% of all dogs and cats in the United States are overweight or obese, and the percentage increases among senior pets. Obesity in animals is a health risk, just as it is for their human owners. Overweight dogs are at a higher risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, skin diseases, and cancer. They also commonly develop serious joint complications including arthritis and hip dysplasia. Overweight pets also have a more difficult time tolerating heat and breathing.
To keep your senior pet at a healthy weight, choose a high-quality food that is appropriate for his species, age, and size. Your veterinarian can help you determine the best pet food and nutritional mix for your senior pet in addition to how much and how often to feed him. Avoid feeding your pet people food because it contributes to weight gain and can spur other medical problems.
- Make sure your senior pet gets plenty of exercise
Of course, regular exercise for your senior pet is one way to help him stay at a healthy weight. However, pet owners need to be sure they are exercising their senior animals in appropriate ways. Discuss exercises with your vet if you are unsure where to begin. In most cases, a daily walk is an ideal exercise for senior pets. If you work and are unable to walk your dog every day, consider hiring a dog walker from a company like Rover. Dog walkers are happy to get your pet outside for a healthy walk when you are unable to do so. Other exercises that usually are safe for aging pets include play periods with toys or family members. Do not play too roughly and make sure your pet has access to water while exercising.
- Keep your dog’s teeth healthy
Many owners fail to recognize the importance of dental health for their senior pets. Older dogs and cats are susceptible to bacteria if their teeth have been neglected for a period of time. Tartar builds up and leads to gingivitis, which can allow bacteria to get into your senior pet’s bloodstream and damage his organs. One way to keep your pet’s teeth and gums in good condition is to do regular brushing at home and ask your vet to do yearly cleanings. Monitor your senior pet’s teeth and gums and make sure you report any concerns to your veterinarian immediately.
Pet owners want to see their pets live long, healthy lives. That is possible if you provide proper care for your senior pet and follow the tips we have suggested here.
Image via Pixabay by tpsdave
Article by Caroline Hampton
If you read yesterday’s post, you know my Aussie mix dog Pierson has recently had another seizure. No worries, though. He is fine. Most dogs that have problems with seizures have what is called idiopathic epilepsy. This sounds terrible, and it can be for a few. But in most cases, it is mild enough and infrequent enough that medication is not even needed. Most dogs with canine epilepsy live long healthy lives.
I’ve never had a dog with seizures before Pierson. But thanks to the internet and all my dog blog friends, I’ve known about canine epilepsy for some time. Because I had foreknowledge, I was able to remain calm when Pierson had his first episode in January. So that you can have foreknowledge too, read through the following facts:
What Can Cause a Seizure in Dogs:
* Brain injury
* Heat stroke
* Brain tumor
* Kidney or liver failure
* Low blood sugar
** All these sound scary. But the most common reason for a seizure is idiopathic epilepsy. Idiopathic epilepsy is caused by none of the above. In fact, the cause is not known at all. Veterinarians generally label a dog with seizures as having idiopathic epilepsy when all of the above possible causes for the seizure have been eliminated.
While it may seem frustrating to not know what is causing your dog’s seizure, at least with a diagnosis of idiopathic epilepsy you will know your dog wasn’t poisoned and that he doesn’t have a brain injury. It may also help to know that it is unlikely your dog feels any pain while seizing.
What To Do If Your Dog is having a Seizure:
* Move stuff out of the way so your dog doesn’t hurt themselves on something.
* Don’t put anything in your dog’s mouth.
* Try not to touch your dog while he is seizing.
* Remain calm.
* Call your veterinarian.
* Go to the vet after you have called them. Don’t talk on your phone while driving and remember to drive safe.
To read about Pierson’s first seizure, check out this article of Pierson’s Seizure on my American Dog Blog. Click the links in that article for more detailed information about canine epilepsy.
Last year, Maya stole a lot of cherry tomatoes from the garden. I thought it was funny. But later I found out that tomatoes can be bad for dogs. Too much tomato and it could actually be toxic. So this year, we are going to be a bit more careful about our garden. Here are some things to think about:
If you have dogs, don’t use cocoa mulch in your flower garden. Cocoa mulch contains a chemical in the cocoa called theobromine. This chemical is poisonous do dogs. And because the mulch smells so good, dogs want to eat it.
Before putting any pesticides in your garden, check the label to make sure it is not harmful to pets. Consider natural remedies such as non-toxic soapy water sprayed on your plants.
As with pesticides, check the label of plant fertilizers to make sure it is not harmful to pets.
Plants that can Cause Allergic Reactions
There are several plants that can make dogs itch or have other allergic reactions. Some of these plants include the purple leaf velvet plant, a male juniper bush, and daylilies.
Plants Toxic to Dogs
The ASPCA has a very comprehensive list of toxic plants. It even has tomatoes on it. There are 392 entries so far. So rather than go through one by one, know what you want to plant and search the list for that specific plant – ASPCS Plants Toxic to Dogs
It’s no secret that dogs love garbage! Make sure your dogs can’t get into the compost. Even if you are careful about what you put in the compost pile, you really don’t want your dog to eat it. Make sure your compost is out of reach of your dogs.
Fleas and Ticks
Since we have wild rabbits living under our shed, it is likely that they carry fleas and ticks too. So I make sure my dogs are protected.
Put Tools Away
Keep your tools put away so your dog can’t get to them. Not only do you not want them to step on them and cut themselves on sharp edges, but you also don’t want them to chew on them.
The easiest way to keep your dog out of your garden is to prevent him from being able to get into the garden in the first place. This year, I am having a fence put around our vegetable garden. Are you going to plant a flower or vegetable garden this year? What does your dog think about it?
We have a guest post today from our friend in the UK. Here is some great information about your dog’s food and overall health.
All pet dog owners will clearly tell you of the love and pleasure the dogs give to them and their families. It’s for this reason that these pets deserve various kind of care in return. Many of these pets require such care several times a day, but this should not scare you as with time it becomes part of your familiar routine. The better you care for your pet, the more pleasure you will derive from your relationship.
The same way it is to us, a nutritious, balanced diet is very essential to your dog’s health. You should therefore learn what to feed your pet dog at various stages of its life. Dogs are remarkably able to adopt and survive on a variety of foods. Their digestive system can get nutrients from anything that is edible, unlike cats that needs nutrients found in meat-based diet only. Despite this, you still need to be equipped with various pet dog health tips. To start with, you should know that dogs are naturally meat eaters, therefore making meat protein an important part of a dog’s diet. However, an all-rounded balanced diet for dogs should include protein, fat, carbohydrate, minerals, vitamins, and water.
Fresh, clean water is very important to your pet dog than all other nutrients. Did you know that a dog can go for several days without food, but not without water? This is caused by the fact that 70 percent of a dog’s body is made up of water that is vital for its tissue lubrication and cell function.
In addition to clean water, you need to choose the right food for your pet. The main factors to consider when choosing the right food for your pet dog include a balanced nutrition (that we have mentioned above), taste, calorie level and digestibility. In terms of balanced nutrition, whatever you buy should be marked complete and balanced, to show that it has the right amount of nutrients needed by the dog. Give your dog natural, whole foods. You can also give a small portion of snacks, but avoid garlic, onions, raisins and grapes, which are toxic to dogs.
In addition to feeding your pet dog well, it will also require regular exams. Ensure a veterinarian examines your pet dog at least twice every year. This will ensure that any case of arthritis, heart problem, a toothache, among other conditions can be detected and treated early. Such visits to a veterinarian should also touch on weight control and nutrition, parasite control, vaccination, among other issues. Ensure your dog gets regular vaccinations.
Ensure that you spay and neuter your pet dog early enough. This can be done as early as six weeks of the dog’s age. Spaying and neutering has many benefits. Some of these benefits include lowering the risk of certain cancers, lowering the risk of getting lost as it decreases the tendency to roam, among other benefits.
Don’t forget to also provide your pet dog an enriched environment. This includes a daily walk. It also means some play time with you to keep the pet’s muscles toned as well as prevent boredom. To know more about health tips for pet dog you can also have live talk with certified veterinary surgeon or pharmacists on websites like Vet Medic and they also have wide range of pet products as well.
The Rumpy Dog Blog inspired this post. Blogging is fun but you’re not going to get many visitors if you don’t participate in social media. If you are on the internet, you have probably heard of social media. Social media includes Facebook, My Space, Linked In, Twitter, and more. It also includes photo sharing sites like Flickr, blogs like the one you are reading now, forums, and so on. Blogging is fun. But posting regularly then marketing it with social media can be very time consuming. If you want to work towards having a popular blog, be sure you are blogging about something you love.
My passion is dogs. Because the retail websites in my company are about dogs and cats, I find that the time I spend on social media is much more fun. Visit my social media sites. Follow my pages, like, add to your circle, subscribe, and join the fun!
If you are a social media junkie and post about pets, add your links in our comments and I will follow you in return.
Our Social Media Spots:
Thanks Rumpy Dog for being an inspiration! 🙂
According to DogFriendly.com, Chicago, Illinois is a great place for dogs to visit. There are a number of pet-friendly hotels and even a couple of pet-friendly guesthouses, such as the Guesthouse in Historic Oldtown. But your dog doesn’t have to stay in a hotel. Take him with you when you go sightseeing.
The Antique Coach and Carriage Company will take you and your dog on a scenic carriage ride through downtown Chicago. The Mercury Skyline Cruiseline has dog-friendly cruises on Sundays in the summer. You can also take the Paws Around Chicago taxi service to take your dog to all the pet-friendly places.
Several stores in Chicago are pet-friendly too. Take your dog to shop in PetSmart, Petco, Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, The Down Town Dog, Uncle Dan’s, Bloomingdale’s, and more. DogFriendly.com also lists almost 50 restaurants in Chicago which allow dogs. So shop and stop for lunch.
Take your dog to visit the Navy Pier. Your dog is allowed in most of the outdoor areas, but not the indoor areas. Your dog is also allowed in the Shakespeare Garden at Northwestern University. Or take your dog to Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park (pictured above). My Labrador Maya would love that! Dogs must be on a leash, though. And you must pick up after them.
Want to just chill for the evening, maybe play some pool? Take your dog to Of Mutts and Men. According to DogFriendly.com, this place charges $3 per dog and your dog can roam around inside for free while you watch TV, play pool, play chess, or just relax and read with a cup of coffee. There is also a practice ring so you can play or work directly with your dog in a secluded area.
The Chicago area also has a number of dog parks and dog beaches. Montrose Harbor Dog Beach is one such place where your dog can swim Lake Michigan. Please note that a permit may be required for your dog to play in the dog parks or beaches. Call the city of Chicago to get this permit in advance. You must also be able to furnish your dog’s proof of vaccinations.
If you are going on vacation this spring or summer, consider taking your dog and visiting the pet-friendly Chicago. Find out more places to visit and more information on DogFriendly.com. And don’t forget to have your dog wear a dog seat belt or other pet travel safety device.
When owning a pet it is seen as an addition to the family. This said the most important reason why pet insurance is vital is because it is impossible to predict whether at some point your pet will fall ill or have a serious accident. You simply wouldn’t take that chance when considering health insurance for any other family member but people don’t value pet insurance as highly. For these reasons alone getting pet insurance is one of the most important things to do when getting a domesticated animal, nearly as important as getting the animal itself.
One of the greatest benefits of pet insurance is that it doesn’t just cover your pet when it becomes seriously ill, it covers it for a wide range of other problems as well. Pet insurance covers everything from regular check-ups to advertising if your pet ever becomes lost or stolen. Some plans even cover bereavement counselling. These are just some of the benefits that are covered by policies and it genuinely shows how much the policies have progressed through the years to give you and your pet the best plan possible. Pet insurance therefore provides peace of mind and financial assurance.
Find cheap pet and cheap rabbit insurance quotes at PetsAtHome.com.
It’s almost spring. Time to be outdoors again. Your dog misses the dog park and other fun travel destinations. But with warm weather and more travel, your dog is likely to encounter parasites like fleas and ticks.
Ticks are small parasites that can cause a variety of big problems for your dog. Aside from their nasty habit of sucking your dog’s blood, ticks can carry disease and even cause anemia and paralysis. One of the best ways to avoid the hassles and hazards of a tick infestation is to use a topical preventative like K9 Advantix. It’s also a good idea to get to know ticks so you can learn to identify and avoid them.
Ticks often lurk in tall grass or thick vegetation, waiting to attach to a host. Heat and movement attract ticks, so your warm, active pup is in need of extra protection against them. Once a tick finds a host to feed on, it will attach itself and drink the host’s blood for a few hours to several days. Ticks can live for a few months and some even live for years. An adult female tick can lay hundreds of eggs at a time. Ticks develop from eggs to larvae, nymphs then adults. Once out of the egg, ticks of any stage of life will attach to a host body. For this reason, ticks can range in size from the size of a pen point to the size of a bean.
To check your dog for ticks, feel over his body for bumps, especially around his ears, neck and other areas where the fur may be thinner. If you feel any bumps, part your pup’s fur and use a flashlight to see if you can identify a tick. Should you spot a tick, your veterinarian can assist you in removing it quickly and cleanly. Never squeeze a tick as doing so can cause bacteria and disease to be injected into your dog. Keep in mind that if your dog may be exposed to ticks, prevention and early detection are key to keeping your four-legged friend tick-free.
With Easter coming on, it is time to review some dog Easter safety tips for your dog. Check out this post we wrote on our American Dog Blog, titled “Easter Candy Safety for Your Dogs”.
While we love to spoil our dogs while we are spoiling ourselves this Thanksgiving Holiday, let’s be a little careful about the kind of food we give our dogs. Some Thanksgiving food can be high in fat. And while a little bit may be okay, it could still upset your dog’s tummy. Dogs who are used to eating dog food with no salt, seasonings, preservatives, or other additives, might have very upset stomachs from eating our Thanksgiving food. An upset stomach can be painful for a dog. And it could cause unpleasant diarrhea or vomiting.
Some fatty foods include the skin from the turkey, gravy, candy and other sweets, or anything buttered. Foods which can be harmful for your dog include raisins or grapes, macadamia nuts, onions, potatoes, and dark chocolate. Be sure to ask your veterinarian for a list of more foods which are not good for your dog. Some of these foods could even be deadly.
Another important thing to remember is to not give your dog turkey bones – not even the big and thick drumstick. The bones of the turkey splinter easily and can get caught in your dog’s throat or puncture their intestines. The damage of a turkey bone could cause a lot of pain for your dog, and possibly even death. And it could cost you a lot of money and heartbreak.
Be safe this Thanksgiving Holiday. Give your dog lots of dog treats if you wish to spoil them over the holidays. If you think about it, most dogs don’t even take the time to taste their food, so they probably won’t even know the difference!